A COUPLE of years ago, the procedure for obtaining Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) bowser was to line up at the CBC office at 8am. Within minutes the allocated quota of bowsers would exhaust and unsuccessful applicants would return home empty-handed, only to try again the next morning. And so went the cycle morning after morning.

Enraged by the colonial and authoritarian attitude of the board’s unaccountable and non-representative masters safely ensconced in their ivory towers who were ignoring the sufferings of taxpayers, senior citizens and housewives, their ‘fortress’ was stormed one day by the residents who wanted to vent their anger.

Thereafter, a more civilised procedure was introduced whereby residents filled a form, paid Rs3,000 in advance and received six bowsers over a period of three months. Alas, this system was soon scrapped.

The residents were again asked to apply for one bowser after 15 days through a mobile application. It worked for some time with a few hiccups due to weekends and holidays.

Ever since the advent of the holy month of Ramazan, the CBC has made the most basic of commodities even more difficult to acquire, as is the case every year.

Now residents are required to apply for bowsers between 9am and noon except on weekends and holidays. The bowsers are supplied on first-application-received basis. Needless to say the quota again gets exhausted within half-an-hour and most of the requests are denied.

To make matters worse, instead of retaining the requests and providing the bowser on the next day or the day after, the applicants are asked to apply afresh at 9am the next (working) day.

I have been trying to register my request every day for the last one week unsuccessfully. When our tanks ran dry we had to finally order a commercial tanker at an exorbitant rate. This is the state of affairs in DHA Karachi, the most posh residential area which charges the highest amount of taxes from its residents.

I urge the federal ombudsman to take note of the matter and provide relief to the parched residents.

Asif Jah
Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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